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Juke joint saviors
Slow Pokesí rock ní roll exorcism
By EA Poorman
Fort Wayne Reader
Sometimes in this line of work you just have to shut and let the music ó or in this case music maker and Slow Pokes front man Zach Kerschner ó do the talking. Take it away, Zach.
On how the Slow Pokes came about:
"The band Slow Pokes first began around October 2010 when Ryan Lee started joining in with us on our practice sessions. Before that Pierce, Charlie, and I were just a trio under the name ďThe Tangle FactoryĒ and had been playing together for several years mostly in our parentís basements but we had no real direction. We were just three college dropouts with nothing better to do than get high and play whatever music we felt like playing. We would play disc golf when the weather was nice. We werenít a very motivated group(laughs). Before that we were all in different bands in high school and we all played shows at Cup-a-Joeís in Auburn together and thatís probably how we ended up playing in a band together now. Charlie was the drummer for a band called Bottom Dollar, and Ryan and I were in a band together called THORRRR in high school back in the early 2000s and we all played shows with The B-Sharpz and that is how we all really got to know each other as musicians. Ryan really never found an outlet for playing guitar after THORRR broke up so when Charlie, Pierce, and I decided that we needed to add a fourth musician to The Tangle Factory it didnít take long for Ryan to fit right into the group. We had been jamming with a few other potential band members but Ryan had a real enthusiasm about him that we as a band lacked, and his schedule worked with ours perfectly. So after just a few practices we realized we had something good on our hands. We needed a fresh start with a new band name, something a little easier to pronounce than The Tangle Factory. So after a few weeks going back and forth on some ridiculous band names we finally narrowed it down to Slow Pokes. Itís a little clichť, but itís fitting for us and more than anything I think itís just easier to say."
On artists that have played a role in the Slow Pokes sound:
"Kevin Hambrick was a big help getting us on our feet. He recorded our first demo for us when we were still The Tangle Factory and he helped us get quite a few shows back in the day when we had no clue what we were doing. Church Shoes, as well as The B-Sharpz back in the day have always been a big impact on us. We all have been influenced by their music but more so just being friends with a successful band in Fort Wayne; with guys that our about the same age as us really motivated us to believe we could actually do something more with our band. When Church Shoes moved out of Fort Wayne we felt a strong obligation to do our best to help fill the void they left. We still play shows with those guys anytime we can ó not as much since they moved to Austin ó but every few months they come back. Also our friend Anthony Fanger started Chain Smoking Records with Bart from End Times Spasm Band and they helped introduce us to plenty of good out-of-town bands including our good friend Alyosha Het from Lancaster, OH. Other bands we should mention are Left Lane Cruiser, Lee Miles and the Illegitimate Sons, PoopdeFlex, Thunderhawk, Big Money & The Spare Change, Timber!!!, Elephants in Mud, Heavenís Gateway Drugs and The Mutts."
On their new album Dead Lines(so freakin' good, btw):
"The album Dead Lines was actually way overdue, no pun intended. Almost every song on the album was written back in 2010 but we werenít making enough money from the shows we were playing to even consider paying for recording time. Kevin Hambrick recorded ďVictorís Escape PlanĒ in his basement back in 2007 I believe and then in 2011 we did the recording for ďTrain HandsĒ with Alyosha Het in his basement in Ohio where he recorded his album The Purgatourist. Both of those guys did that completely voluntarily because they had the equipment and they legitimately just wanted to help us. We entered the Battle of the Bands in 2012 hoping we could get first place and have an entire album professionally recorded, mixed, mastered and pressed for only the entry fee of $40. We honestly didnít think we had a chance just because we are not the type of people that ever go to Columbia Street West for anything, but my mother actually was the one that pressured us into it. We ended up getting 3rd which meant 6 hours of recording time, 250 CD pressings, $500 cash, and $250 Whatzup ad credits. So thatís where Dead Lines began. We recorded at Digitracks with a dude named Trevor Clark. We didnít know him before that but he knew our music and was very enthusiastic about working with us.
The recording process has never been smooth for us. In fact Jon Ross came over to record us and we did not get one good take in the 3 hours he sat there recording us. But it was nice to be in such a professional environment, Trevor was good at what he did and he could get things done fast. We have always recorded live because we are a live band and we always have been. Recording live can be so much more stressful because if one of us ****s up the rest of us follow right along like dominos in a row. Trevor Clark was quite the wizard at reducing our stress levels and giving us easy ways to solve our dilemmas. So over all we really enjoyed it. It wasnít easy, but under any other circumstances Iím sure it would not have ended up sounding anywhere near as good. Trevor didnít know any of us as individuals but he legitimately liked our sound and wanted to do our songs justice and that is why I think the album ended up being such a success."
On the typical Slow Pokes show:
"We play at the Brass Rail more than any other venue, but they all are typically about the same. We arrive probably a half hour later than we should and unload right on the stage since we are still an opening band most of the time. Then I typically go grab a beer and give Charlie time to set up his kit before I worry about where to put my stuff. Then Iíll go back to set up, tune up, and sound check. After that we will go have a smoke before we have to take the stage. We really only have 30 minutes or so of original music so we usually will play a cover or two to fill up the time slot."
On upcoming shows:
"We are still a local band, but we are making efforts to get on the road sometime this summer and set up a little circuit so we can get down to Austin TX and hopefully play a gig with Church Shoes and not lose our asses."
On future recordings:
"We are going to keep recording songs, but we have decided to take our time and record them as they come. When we finish selling all of the CDs we have now we are going to reprint the CD with a few more songs to make it a full length album. Either that or hopefully we might have a full length album ready by next year if we keep at it."
On possible local collaborations:
"Since the first time we recorded with Kevin Hambrick and he added organ parts onto the recording we have always wanted to have Kevin Hambrick join our band. We all know that it could never happen. Alyosha Het is a goal that is a little more reasonable. Weíre all loving collaborating with him and we would be doing it a lot more, but he still lives so far away. We are trying to remedy that and get him to move to Fort Wayne. Ohio sucks."
On where Slow Pokes will be in 5 years:
"On the road a lot more hopefully. We all are at an age in our lives where this band is make or break for all of us, we all just want to be successful enough to be able to continue doing what we love. All we can really do is try our best. You never know what life has in store for Slow Pokes."
If I had to guess what life has in store for Slow Pokes, I'd say a bright, ramshackle future. Check Slow Pokes out at http://slowpokes.bandcamp.com/ and grab a copy of Dead Lines.